A charity working with homeless people and drug users has criticised the lack of drugs treatment facilities in Ireland.

The Merchants Quay Ireland annual report, released today, shows that the numbers of homeless people and drug abusers seeking help has continued to rise.

The organisation's annual report shows there has been a 9% rise in visits to its needle exchange service. It also reports a 20% rise in visits to its open access homeless services.

Merchants Quay Ireland provides services including health promotion and day support programmes.

Its Director, Tony Geoghegan, says the increasing numbers coming to the organisation reflects a lack of options and opportunities for homeless people and drug users.

The charity says there are less than 30 detoxification beds and 150 residential drug free beds to treat approximately 14,500 problem opiate users.

The report says there is now even greater pressure on what it described as an inadequate number of detox and drug free treatment beds.

The organisation is calling on the Government to put new resources into these two areas as a matter of great urgency to bring us into line with international best practice.